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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 January 2008, 13:28 GMT
De Villiers named Springbok coach
Peter de Villiers
Peter de Villiers becomes the first black person to coach South Africa
World Cup holders South Africa have named 50-year-old Peter de Villiers as their new coach.

The former Emerging Springboks coach led the Under-21 squad to the IRB World Championship in 2005.

Many had expected former Bulls coach Heyneke Meyer to replace Jake White, whose contract expired on 31 December.

But Johan Prinsloo, the South African Rugby Union (SARU) chief executive, said De Villiers was "a strong leader, a coach with proven track record".


Oregan Hoskins, SARU president, admitted that the desire to broaden the racial base of rugby in South Africa was a factor in appointing De Villiers as the first black person to coach the Springboks.

"I want to be honest with South Africa and say the appointment did not take into account only rugby reasons," he said.

"We took into account the issue of transformation in rugby very, very seriously when we took the decision."

De Villiers, who has been given an initial two-year contract, said: "You dream of being a Springbok player and if you can't be a player you dream of being a Springbok coach and that has become a reality for me now.

"I am very privileged to be in this position of taking over a great squad of players but this is where the hard work begins. To make wholesale changes would be stupid."

Former South Africa assistant coach Allister Coetzee and former Super 12 Cats coach Chester Williams were the others on the four-man shortlist.

Meyer, the most successful South African provincial coach of the post-isolation era, was favourite for the job among players.

He had received 77% of the vote among 258 members of the South African Rugby Players' Association (SARPA).

De Villiers' first Test match in charge will be against Wales in Bloemfontein on June 7.

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